Hummingbird – Local Natives

If you’ve heard of Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver, Band of Horses, or The Morning Benders, then Local Natives should sound familiar. The LA indie rock outfit recently released their sophomore record Hummingbird, after their 2009 debut Gorilla Manor received acclaim. Four years may seem like a long time for the 4-man group to get back to recording music but it was a four years well spent. Hummingbird is a simple yet expansive set of whimsically sung rock tunes, as well as a collection of edgy guitar riffs and a heavenly atmosphere. Even Hummingbird‘s album artwork evokes a sense of escapism, surrealism, imagination, and pure bliss. Lead vocalist Kelcey Ayer may sound a lot like Fleet Foxes’ Robin Peckenfold, but nevertheless delivers a sweet-sounding tenor that produces elegant material, such as the serene album opener “You & I,” the Band-of-Horses-esque “Heavy Feet,” and the harmonious “Black Balloons.” Much of the songs on Hummingbird have evolved from its preceding hits from Gorilla Manor, such as “Wide Eyes” and “Airplanes,” by holding a stronger memorability and creating a much more passionate-sounding production. Hummingbird‘s sure hard-hitters include the piano-driven “Black Spot,” the drum-thumping “Wooly Mammoth,” and “Breakers,” one of Local Natives’ strongest tracks to date. Local Natives continues to impress as they launch into much more sophisticated songs on the last half of the album, such as the guitar-filled wonderland “Mt. Washington,” the slow, breathy “Colombia,” the melodic and gentle album closer “Bowery,” and the impressive bonus track “Ingrid.” Hummingbird isn’t an almighty rock album, but it is an extraordinary, unique, and admirable record and a plausible comeback for Local Natives.

Grade: A-
Recommended: Yes
Suggested Tracks: “Heavy Feet,” “Wooly Mammoth,” “Breakers,” “Bowery,” “Ingrid”            

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